Tony Sewell final tables the Main Event to earn himself the title of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Champion and a berth in the National Championship.

Cherokee, N.C. (May 4, 2015) – Michael “Tony” Sewell has won the Casino Champion title at the Harrah’s Cherokee stop following an impressive performance that included four cashes, two final tables a gold ring victory. Sewell accumulated more than $78,000 in tournament earnings over the course of the 12-day series.

Sewell was the front runner in the Casino Championship standings most of the way, but was passed late in the series. He answered with a final table finish in the Main Event, vaulting him back to the top of the leaderboard.

Sewell started out strong in the series by winning the opening event. He won Event #1 - $365 No-Limit Hold’em for $30,050. It was his fourth career Circuit cash, all of which have come at Harrah’s Cherokee. This victory gave Sewell 50 points and the lead in the Casino Championship. He would hold his lead for over a week until Event #8 winner, Troy Thornton, would pass him.

The reason Sewell was able to hold onto his lead early on was because he followed up his victory in the opening event with a 59th place in the record breaking re-entry event later that weekend. Sewell finished 59th out of the 2,937 entries in Event #4 - $365 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry. It was the largest tournament ever to be hosted at Harrah’s Cherokee. This result added another 10 points and $1,850 in earnings to Sewell’s name at the Cherokee series.

His 60 total points kept him in the lead all the way until Event #8, when Thornton passed him. Thornton won Event #8 - $365 No-Limit Hold’em Monster Stack. It was the first ever monster stack event hosted by Harrah’s Cherokee. It drew a massive 703 player field. Thornton took home $43,240 and his first career gold ring for his first place finish.

Thornton had two previous cashes in the series before his victory in Event #8, including an 8th place finish in the six max event just a few days prior to his victory. These three cashes would give him enough points to take the lead away from Sewell with only four events remaining. Sewell also cashed in the monster stack to tack on another couple points to his total.

The Main Event was next for both players and they both made it through Day 1B to advance to Day 2. Sewell brought a top 20 chip stack to Day 2 and grew it to become a top three stack around the money bubble. The money bubble burst and both players were guaranteed their fourth cash of the series and more points.

Both players made it deep into Day 2 and secured 20 more points. With these 20 points, Sewell and Thornton had distanced themselves from the rest of the field, enough to where it became a two man race, even with Events #11 and #12 yet to conclude.

Thornton would be the last player eliminated on Day 2 of the Main Event. He finished in 15h place for 20 points. He would finish the series with 87.5 points and $61,123 in tournament earnings. He put the pressure on Sewell. Sewell would need an 8th place finish or better in the Main Event to pass Thornton and retake the lead. Sewell was returning for Day 3 of the Main Event ninth in chips out of the 14 remaining players.

Sewell ended up riding a short stack most of Day 3, but he managed to make to the final table of nine and survive a few more eliminations before eventually busting in sixth place. The sixth place finish earned Sewell enough points to pass Thornton and added another $46,158 in tournament earnings to his series total.

Last year at this property, Sewell finished Day 1 of the Main Event as the chip leader. Unfortunately, he would end falling short of the final table and ended up busting in 24th place. According to Sewell, he was battling throat cancer at the time, and the cancer treatment he was receiving caused him to come into Day 2 ill. He had hard time focusing and even reading his own two hole cards. It was a disappointing finish for Sewell after having such a strong Day 1.

Reaching the final table in this year’s Main Event was redemption for Sewell and earning the Casino Championship was icing on the cake. The cancer slowed Sewell last year, since then he has fought hard and improved his health. Sewell said that fighting cancer was the hardest thing he has ever done. The 57-year-old is married and the proud father of three children. Sewell is from Shelby, N.C.

Sewell and the Harrah’s Cherokee Main Event winner, Ryan Jones, will be returning to Harrah’s Cherokee in late to July to compete in the 2015 National Championship where they will freeroll for their share of an up-to $2 million prize pool against some of the WSOP’s top performers. Besides the six-figure score, the eventual winner of the National Championship will win a gold bracelet.


More information and full point standings for the year-long race are available on


Sewell’s Harrah’s Cherokee series:


Event #1 - $365 No-Limit Hold’em – 466 entries – 1st place for $30,050
Event #4 - $365 No-Limit Hold’em  Re-Entry - 2,937 entries – 59th place for $1,850
Event #8 - $365 No-Limit Hold’em Monster Stack – 703 entries – 50th place for $704
Event #10 - $1,675 Main Event – 786 entries – 6th place for $46,158